PAP to keep public transport and food affordable to ease the cost-of-living 

PAP cost of living budget

“Many of you have voiced your concerns about higher prices and the cost of living,” said Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Lawrence Wong as he announced a $1.1 billion Cost-of-Living (COL) Support Package last week. Consisting of a mixture of cash, public transport vouchers, U-Save and S&CC rebates to further support lower- to middle-income households, it was a timely assurance. That is because while core inflation has fallen, it tends to feel more like a technicality rather than reality as high prices continue to bite.  

One contentious subject is the recent public transport fare hikes, which will kick in December 2023. Fearing that the fare increase would pile on additional stress to commuters, it has spurred our MPs into action, pushing the government towards doing more to ensure public transport remains affordable.  

Keeping public transport fares affordable  

Responding to MPs Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang SMC) and Mr Don Wee’s (Chua Chu Kang GRC) questions on delaying the fare hike due to the rising cost of living, Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Transport Chee Hong Tat reiterated the Government’s commitment to keep public transport affordable, especially for concession holders such as seniors, students, low-wage workers, and persons with disabilities (PWDs).  

“We will reduce the price of hybrid (bus and rail) monthly concession passes by up to 10% and introduce a new discounted Workfare Transport Concession Scheme (WTCS) pass that is expected to benefit about 60,000 commuters.”  

Costing $96 (less than the current adult monthly pass of $128), the WTCS pass will provide users with substantial savings of up to 70% per journey, noted SMS Chee.  

In addition, lower-income households will receive a $50 public transport voucher to cushion the impact of these fare changes, which would cover approximately six months of fare increase for average users. 

Sustaining budget meals at hawker centres 

Besides transport, another major cause of concern is the rising food prices at our hawker centres. With over 113 of them spread across Singapore, it is not an exaggeration to say that these food centres offering cheap and delicious meals are somewhat of a social safety net, ensuring hundreds of thousands of us do not go hungry.  

Speaking in response to MP Ms Mariam Jaafar’s (Sembawang GRC) question on the availability of budget meals at hawker centres, Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Sustainability and the Environment Koh Poh Koon shared that despite rising costs, hawker centres, including those managed by NEA, town councils and social enterprises have ensured at least one budget meal option per stall. 

And with the mandating of budget meal options in all coffee shops by 2026, it is a continued commitment by the PAP to ensure food will always be affordable to Singaporeans.  

Amid Singaporean’s concerns over rising costs, the PAP Government’s recent initiatives and our MP’s Parliamentary questions underscore a steadfast commitment to ensuring affordability for Singaporeans across essential sectors. The intent remains clear: to help Singaporeans, especially the vulnerable, in navigating these cost-of-living pressures. 

Photo Source: Chee Hong Tat/ Koh Poh Koon via Facebook